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How to play the D major over A chord on guitar

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The D major over A chord

The D chord, pronounced D major over A, is a unique guitar voicing that combines the D major triad with an A bass note. This slash chord creates a rich, expansive sound often used in folk, country, and rock music to add harmonic depth. Notable examples include The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" and Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," where the D/A chord prominently features.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common D major over A chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for D major over A chord

The most common way to play a D major over A chord on guitar is to use the first three frets. This chord shape is often called "D/A".

Follow these finger positions to play a D major over A chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across the first three strings (G, B, and high E) on the 2nd fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th (A) string.

To strum this chord, start with a downstrum across all six strings, then focus on the upper four strings for additional strumming patterns.

How to play an easy D major over A chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the D major over A chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 1st (high E) string.
  3. Strum only the top four strings.

This simplified version still captures the essence of the D/A chord.

How to play a D major over A bar chord

The D major over A barre chord is a great way to add variety and richness to your guitar playing, especially when transitioning between chords or adding embellishments.

Here's how to play a D major over A barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across the 5th fret, covering all six strings. This is the barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 7th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 7th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 7th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum from the 5th (A) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Common D major over A chord progressions

The D major chord over an A bass note (D/A) is often used in progressions to create a sense of movement, anticipation, or resolution. These progressions can evoke feelings of hope, triumph, or nostalgia. Here are some common D/A chord progressions:

  • IV/I - V - I (D/A - E - A): Used in "Let It Be" by The Beatles and "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty
  • IV/I - I - vi - IV (D/A - A - F#m - D): Used in "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey and "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi
  • IV/I - vi - V - I (D/A - F#m - E - A): Used in "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and The Waves
  • IV/I - I - V - IV (D/A - A - E - D): Used in "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • IV/I - vi - ii - V (D/A - F#m - Bm - E): Used in "Wonderwall" by Oasis

Drills to master the D major over A chord

To master the D major over A guitar chord, try playing the chord slowly and steadily, focusing on clean fretting and consistent strumming. Practice transitioning smoothly between the D/A chord and other chords you commonly use.

Another effective drill is to arpeggiate the chord, playing each note individually in various patterns. This helps develop finger independence and familiarity with the chord shape. Experiment with different rhythms and fingerpicking patterns to add variety to your practice routine.

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Songs that feature the D major over A chord

Here are 7 popular songs you can play with the D major over A chord.

  1. Wonderwall by Oasis (Chords: Em7, G, D, A7sus4)
  2. Free Fallin' by Tom Petty (Chords: D, Asus4, Bm7, G)
  3. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (Chords: Em7, G, D/F#, A7sus4)
  4. Homeward Bound by Simon & Garfunkel (Chords: A, E7, D/A, A)
  5. The Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel (Chords: A, D/A, A, E7)
  6. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day (Chords: G, D/F#, Em7, D)
  7. Helplessly Hoping by Crosby, Stills & Nash (Chords: A, Asus4, D/A, A)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

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